“This Frontier Needs Heroes” - Bradley Lauretti

Posted: December 16, 2023
This Frontier Needs Heroes” is a homage to Woody Guthrie who wrote “This Machine Kills Fascists” on his guitar during WWII.

Photo provided by: Bradley Lauretti

Bradley Lauretti : Originally from Brooklyn, NY, but with stints in Nashville, Florida, and now Barcelona, Bradley is known for his DIY tenacity and intimate live shows. Over the last few years, he has traversed North America and the EU including Canada and Scandinavia, and even played concerts in Colombia and Tunisia. One night with Bradley will run the gamut of all human emotions from humor, hedonism, activism, and heartbreaking sadness. From folk-rock anthems to indie folk, flares of Cosmic Americana, psychedelic, alt-country, to straight-up storytelling. Influenced by classic songwriters like JJ Cale, John Prine, Billy Bragg, Kris Kristofferson, and Townes Van Zandt his timeless songs mix love, humor, and protest seamlessly to get you through the tough times.

The song “South Dakota” is a finalist in the 2020 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (Merlefest). "South Dakota" has been included on Spotify's "Indigo"  "Emerging Americana" and "Cosmic Country" Playlists, Rolling Stone France, Indie & Folk Radio, Songpickr, The Alternate Root, OCTA, Dust of Daylight, and Ear to the Ground playlists! It is getting regular spins on Folk and Americana Radio including The Current, WMOT, and WXNA.

Bradley has performed all over the world including Miro Museum Mallorca, Retrospectrum: Bob Dylan at the Frost Art Museum, Townes Van Zandt Festival (IT), Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, Folk Alliance International, SERFA, Nordic Folk Alliance, Live at Heart (Sweden), Sing Out Loud, Magnolia Festival, Hickey Fest, Gamble Rogers Folk Festival, Gram Parsons Guitar Pull, End of the Road (UK), Reeperbahn, Athfest, and Savannah Stopover. He is also the founder of the Stetson Kennedy Songwriter Residency in Fruit Cove, FL.

Manuel: Hello Bradley, it’s a pleasure to have a chance to chat with you .
“This Frontier Needs Heroes” what’s the meaning, secret behind your stage name?

Bradley: “This Frontier Needs Heroes” is a homage to Woody Guthrie who wrote “This Machine Kills Fascists” on his guitar during WWII. If you have time I recommend the book “Woody, Cisco, and Me” by Jim Longhi about their experience together in the Merchant Marines. I wanted something inspiring that wasn’t just my name, and it started as a band with my sister so I just kept it.

Manuel: Who inspired you to make music? And, how would you describe the music that you typically create?

Bradley: When I was young I listened to all kinds of British pop and 80’s bands, but I think it was the Smiths with Morrissey’s lyrics that really got me thinking of how songwriting could be very literary and poetic. I would say Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young were also very influential on me.

We can say you’re half Italian. How do you live this dualism between your American and Italian heritage? Does it have influenced your music in same way?

Bradley: Well, now I am fully Italian because I just got my passport! There has always been a sense of otherness about being Italian-American because there is no one way of being American. Italian Americans tend to maintain a lot about Italian culture, and so I always felt connected to being Italian in some way. Also, Italian-American singers such as Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima, Tony Bennett, Jimmy Durante, and even Madonna have always had a special place in my heart.


Have you ever felt racism about that?

Have you ever felt racism about that?

Bradley: Well unfortunately racism and ignorance exist everywhere and people always say stupid things. I think mostly in my life people have just said things that they thought were funny, but were just insulting. Things like my name rhymes with spaghetti or asking me if my family was in the mafia. I have a song about that as well called “I Love Immigration” which talks about how my great-grandfather left Italy in 1913 and immediately went to war. Then came back to live the American dream. It is ironic that now I am moving back to Europe to live out my own dream.

Manuel: Couple of years ago you moved to Spain, how your music career is going there? And, Is Spain giving you same new inspiration?

Bradley: This year I had the opportunity to perform with Scarlet Rivera in Spain. It was incredible to sing “One More Cup of Coffee” with the violinist who created that iconic sound with Bob Dylan. We played at the Miro Foundation and Museum in Mallorca, in Joan Miro’s former personal estate which was very special. We also played at the Montazels hat factory in the south of France which was very cool because we both got custom-made hats! So Spain has been treating me well. I have moved around a lot in my life and every place I go inspires me to write new songs.

When we were plaing together in Sicily I remember a nice tune of yours, the lyrics was about “paying the musicians”.How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

Bradley: Oh yeah, I wrote a song called “Free Market Music” which is all about the trials and tribulations of being a musician. There is a lot of unpaid labor that goes into making music and putting on shows. I think after the pandemic so many small independent venues struggled or closed down forever. I see mostly the narrative in the Music press is that artists like Taylor Swift are getting incredibly rich, but I see my peers and myself struggling a lot and I do wonder about the future of music itself. I feel for the venue owners who lost their business. My business has slowed down, but it is not permanently closed. We are dependent on those venues for touring income. So it has been hard. I am a troubadour and an entrepreneur, but people who work in Silicon Valley get a steady paycheck.

Manuel: If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?

At the end of the day, music streaming and Social Media are just mostly unaccountable tech companies getting rich off of other people’s work and our data without people feely understanding the consequences. I think we are all frogs slowly boiling in a pot of propaganda soup. Some people can make a career for themselves off of it, but others have suffered. I made more money ten years ago off iTunes downloads than I do now off streaming even though I have many more streams. I sold more albums before, even though I am getting more streams. So I don’t see where this is going. Spotify struggles to be a profitable business while it cannibalizes our album sales. Is this progress? So I would like to know when Spotify is gone how will they be viewed in the history of music?

What’s next for you?

I don’t know. I would like to record another album this year, but we will see what 2024 has in store. Right now I am just traveling around Italy eating food and going to see some of my favorite Italian songwriters Thomas Guiducci, Claudia Buzzetti, Laura Loriga, and Andrea Parodi. I have the songs ready for another album, but I need to find a place to record them. Maybe it is time to return to Sicily!

That would be awesome, I’ll be here waiting for you brother, can’t wait to play with you again!
Thanks a lot Brad.

Manuel Bellone and Bradley Lauretti

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